Anamnesis Paradox, an e-book by Stewart Sanders opens with the author’s statement: “This book is fiction, except for those words that happen to be true.” This statement, as well as the book’s content, perhaps can better be understood by a prospective reader with a little more explanation. There is another pre-statement to the actual story’s beginning: “And now, amongst the ruins of lives lived at an uncompromising pace, start the dreams. Welcome to your Anamnesis.” If today’s reader is unacquainted with this less often encountered term, it is defined in M-W Collegiate Dictionary simply as “a calling to mind”. Google offers a definition more pertinent to the author’s tale: “recollection, (or reminiscence of) in particular the remembering of things from a supposed previous existence (often used with reference to Platonic philosophy)”. [Plato having set forth the belief that the recovery of buried memories, anamnesis, was the only manner in which one could know the world in which he/she lived.] The most pertinent definition of the remaining word of the title, paradox, of course, is number 3 in the M-W dictionary: “one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases.” Specifically for purposes here, something may sound absurd, ridiculous and/or contradictory but contain elements of truth. The author offers further explanation for the basics of his saga: “Human brains can make the simplest answers hard to find, by limiting all reason to only account for whatever tiny part of life’s rich tapestry has been experienced. We each have an eternal soul, our church teaches that instead of allowing the natural process of transference, we influence the process, but the soul’s story must always start at the beginning of the body and mind.” Further along he raises the question: “Could that mean all of our hidden routines were left by a consciousness that we knew where to look all along.”
Discussion: The story line itself follows the thoughts/action and the recalled thoughts/actions of individuals through various periods of their lives from the 1100’s to the present with recall of activities, acquaintances and individuals of note ranging from Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury to Hitler’s demented (?) obscene physician Mengele, and today’s prominent Mujahideen. The book is well written but somewhat difficult to follow as it moves from person to person, and even sometimes confusing especially with different sexual references. Philosophical offerings obviously are plentiful and, as would be expected with the author’s background, much of today’s cutting edge science is included along with plentiful elements of sci-fi.
Conclusion: It is strongly recommended that the prospective reader heed the author’s specific advice at the very start of the book. “This is the third title in a continuing saga, you need to read book 1, Paralysis Paradox available for free on Amazon and book 2, Convergent Paradox first.” This admonition is almost mandatory because the volume cannot stand adequately on its own. If the reader proceeds he/she will find considerable confusion and/or even complete disenchantment at the worst. At best only partial enjoyment even if the basic tenet is accepted.
3* 4* Philosophical fiction; 3* or less dependent upon acceptance of admonition.